birds of a feather flock to usenet

Usenet is an immense, astounding place. Newsgroups have been around for going on 20 years now, and due to the strict taxonomy you can really find the nooks and crannies of the Internet there.

There are many stories of how great it is that we built this global network because the strangest people can finally find each other. Somewhere on earth right now there’s a person that would like to do nothing but wear flowing golden robes and throw pickles at people in the street, and thanks to the web that person can connect with a group that also indulges in that specific activity, compare locations, techniques, and preferred robe fabrics.

Every once in a while I stumble upon some outer reach of usenet like alt.binaries.pictures.rail. Don’t let the alt.binaries.pictures category scare you (long known as the place to find porn in the pre-web days). These are people obsessed with trains, more specifically, photos of them. Looking at their archives, it’s thousands after thousands of photos of trains, tracks, bridges, and switches. Nothing scandalous, nothing too earth shattering, just photo after photo of trains.

I don’t know who started the group, why they did it, or how so many people find each other to exchange photos of trains, but for some reason I feel good knowing a place like that exists for people that take part in it.